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Developer to pay Nama €123m after sales rush

DEVELOPER Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group is set to knock up to €123m (Stg£100m) off its Nama debt following the successful sale of 160 luxury apartments at its Embassy Gardens development in London.

Ballymore offloaded the properties over just two weekends in launches held in Hong Kong and Singapore, heading off stiff competition from several other major property developers in the process.

The Sunday Independent understands that Ballymore secured an average price of €925,000 (Stg£750,000) for each of the apartments. Sources said that once the cost of building the units is stripped out, Ballymore expects to pay down its Nama debt by up to €123m (Stg£100m).

That payment will help to blow a significant hole in the total amount the group owes to the State's so-called bad bank.

When Ballymore's loans were first taken into Nama in 2010, they are understood to have amounted to a staggering €1.55bn. Less than two years on, it is believed that they have been paid down by more than 50 per cent through a combination of aggressive sales, refinancing and joint ventures.

The Sunday Independent understands that Mr Mulryan is determined to see his business pay off all its outstanding debts to Nama by 2016.

When complete, Ballymore's 15-acre development at Embassy Gardens will accommodate the US Embassy, 1,982 new homes, shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, business space, a 100-bed hotel and six acres of outdoor public space.

Elsewhere in the UK capital, phase one of Ballymore's site at 21 Wapping Lane, which is under construction, is understood to have achieved sales of 98 per cent. The company's Baltimore Wharf development in London's Canary Wharf has realised sales of 90 per cent to date and is now 70 per cent completed.

Closer to the site of the London Olympics, Ballymore holds the distinction of owning the biggest landbank of any developer, regardless of nationality.

Asked how his working relations were with Nama, Mr Mulryan told the Sunday Independent: "Ballymore is working through a business plan with Nama. London, Prague and Berlin are thriving and we can be thankful that we are there, working hard. We will, as we have done for 30 years, pay back our borrowings and look forward to passing on the business to the next generation, God willing."

Sunday Independent